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David P. Ball's Tyee series about coal exports garners Webster award

Vancouver journalist David P. Ball won a Webster award last night in the Community Reporting category for his series of articles on escalating West Coast coal exports published on The Tyee.

The series "Cross Border Coal War?" documented the ramped-up pressure to ship U.S.-mined coal from western ports on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

Ball's five-parter examined the hot debate in Washington State over whether planned massively increased train shipments of coal into port communities exact too high a pollution cost relative to the jobs and economic activity they might generate. The series also profiled the CEO of the Fraser-Surrey docks slated for coal export expansion, and looked at activist efforts to forge ties across the border in resisting a burgeoning coal industry that contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions globally.

"It was humbling to take the stage alongside so many incredible journalists at last night's Websters," said Ball of his win. "Critical, fact-based reporting seems more and more scarce today, but the award-winners demonstrate that investigative, hard-hitting journalism isn't dead. It's great to see The Tyee recognized as an important place in keeping such journalism alive."

Tyee editor David Beers said it was a privilege to publish Ball's series.

"David Ball was very early to this story, and served the public interest by reporting in-depth on developments that had low awareness among local citizens who could be directly affected by more coal shipped through their neighbourhoods," said Beers. "It's also an issue with important international, truly global, implications."

Ball is a seasoned freelance journalist who regularly contributes to The Tyee and Tyee Solutions Society. Presently he is teaming with Jackie Wong to cover affordable housing issues for the Tyee Solutions Society.

The Webster Awards are British Columbia's top prizes for journalism.

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